What Kind of God is My God?

March 23, 2021   Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent (Lectionary: 252)

Reading I   Nm 21:4-9
From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm   102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
R. (2) O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse before the Gospel
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel   Jn 8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

By Nick Sciarappa

Throughout my entire life I have worked or lived under many authority figures. I’ve formed relationships with teachers, parents, bosses, mentors and priests. Each one has handled my failings in different ways, but they all were far from perfect. Many of my failures were accompanied by being lectured, judged, yelled at, or shamed.

It’s no wonder then, that my relationship with God is tainted with the vague resemblance of the authority figures of my lifetime. I can’t help it.

I’ve answered to many people in my life, and naturally, I tend to believe that God is someone I have to explain or justify myself to.

I’m reminded over and over again that Jesus is not the same as my earthly authority figures every time he talks about who he is. Jesus was not a leader who used earthly tactics to rule over people. Rather, he proposed the Gospel to many, affirming that what he taught was from a heavenly father, not an earthly one.

Time and time again I have to remind myself that Jesus teaches and leads me out of nothing but love.

He has no other motivation. He is not a deceiver. He does not shame. He does not sarcastically put me down or wound me when I go to pray.

Each time Jesus reveals who he really is to me, my heart begins a healing process that allows me to be vulnerable with him in a way that I can’t always be with others. In this way, Jesus is the best authority figure, ruling with a passion for pursuing me in a way that no one else can.


Nick Sciarappa is the Director of Youth Ministry at Sts. John and Paul Parish in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He’s worked for the church in many capacities including as a journalist at the National Catholic Reporter, and as the digital Media Strategist for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Nick produces “Clerically Speaking” a podcast where two Catholic priests talk about the priestly life that you don’t see at Mass.  Nick is married to his illustrious wife Riley, and thinks she is pretty neat. Follow Nick on Twitter and tweet something funny at him.

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